After nearly 135 years in its current home in Newhall Street the Wardens of the Assay Office have made the decision to leave the Victorian grandeur of the iconic Grade II listed building and find larger, more suitable premises elsewhere.
Founded by Act of Parliament in 1773, the Assay Office is one of Birmingham’s oldest institutions and has a statutory duty to hallmark precious metal articles such as jewellery and silverware.
Chairman of the Assay Office, Kay Alexander, says “The Government are currently questioning the need for hallmarking as part of their Red Tape Challenge. So far the response has been an emphatic “keep it”, reinforcing our view that the British public and trade still respect and value the worth of statutory hallmarking as it protects both the consumer and the honest trader. The Birmingham Assay Office believes it has a long and solid future supporting the jewellery trade, both in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and throughout the world.
“As Guardians of The Birmingham Assay Office we have a responsibility to ensure its continued commercial viability in order for it to survive and continue to protect the consumer and support the trade. The Assay Office is our people, not our building. Our people are the best and we must give them the best.
We are proud of our innovation, our integrity and our independence and we believe these will flourish even more successfully in an Assay Office fit for the future. We want to create a world class Centre of Excellence of which Birmingham can be proud. Our objective is that by 2013 we will be ready to face the next 100 years in a new building which is cleaner, greener, more accessible to everyone, and which fully reflects our heritage, our status and our ambition.”
“In recent years The Birmingham Assay office has diversified and now offers a wide range of independent expert services to the Jewellery, Gemstone, and Precious metal trade.
In addition to hallmarking we now offer gem certification and jewellery and silverware valuations to the jewellery trade and direct to the consumer. The Laboratory specialises in precious and base metal analysis and its expertise is now sought by many sectors of industry, although the focus is still on jewellery and fashion accessories.”